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Will Stick Computers Solve the School Tablet Debate?

Apple has tried to introduce students to its ecosystem at an early age, offering its iPad as an educational aid in the United States. And the tablets have worked like a charm as long as all they needed to do was act as electronic books and ways to consume new media in the classroom – but when it comes to writing on them, even with the new Microsoft Office apps available on iOS, they fail miserably. Google’s new product, a Chrome OS “on a stick”, might be the solution to these issues, providing an affordable alternative not just to schools, but also to businesses and – why not – home users.

A few days ago Google has unveiled its latest product called “Chromebits” – a computer running its Linux-based Chrome OS, which has the size of a candy bar. The concept is not new – actually there are several Android and Windows based devices out there – but the Chromebits brings a real improvement to the scene. Together with Intel’s Compute Stick (more about that below), these handy little devices might be the first step toward the disappearance of the desktop PC as a whole.

First of all, the Chromebits will be inexpensive compared to even the most basic office or educational PC – they will reportedly cost somewhere under $100. For this price they will have a USB host connector, WiFi and Bluetooth, a Rockchip 3288 system-on-a-chip, 2 gigabytes of RAM and 16 gigabytes of internal storage. They will connect to a display through a HDMI port, and will handle peripherals like keyboards, mouses, printers and so on, either through USB or through Bluetooth / WiFi.

What sets the Chromebits apart is that it uses Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system that can handle all basic educational and business tasks just as a desktop PC would. The problem with Chrome OS was that it didn’t have a very large number of apps available – but this will change due to ARC Welder (currently in Beta) that allows developers to easily deploy their Android apps on Chrome OS. And when it comes to multitasking, Chrome OS clearly beats Android, making it much more suitable for office environments (and will run platinum play casino in the background as well).

For more complex business needs companies can choose Intel’s stick PC solution called Compute Stick. The new device will cost a bit more – it will reportedly have a price tag of $150 – and will have an Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a fully fledged Windows 8 operating system (which will upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge once the new Microsoft OS is released). It will give users access to a full array of Windows apps and software, making it the perfect choice to replace outdated and bulky workstations.